Monday 31 October 2011

wheat bags - a tutorial of sorts

On 12th November, Caring Hearts Community Quilting group will have a stall at the Spring Fair in the village of Glenbrook (in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney).

DD and I are preparing items for sale. Our first thoughts were place-mats, coasters and wheat bags.

DD was most excited about the latter so that's where we started.

We viewed a few tutorials on the 'Net but then made our bags to suit the size we wanted and the fabric we had. We decided to make removable covers (after testing one with the outer cover and inner cover made in one piece).

So here is a tutorial (of sorts). I have written it primarily for us so that we can remember what we did next time we want to make some!
  1. Decide what size you want your wheat bag to be. This could be determined by how much you have of your chosen fabric. Use only natural fibres; synthetic fibres and microwaves don't mix - synthetic fibres also tend to sweat, leaving a wet patch in your bed if you use it as a bed warmer - something your guests may not appreciate! LOL)
  2.  Cut two pieces of your chosen fabric, half inch wider than your finished width. The first piece should be one inch longer than your desired finished length; the other piece should be 4 inches longer than your desired length (to fold over the end and keep the wheat bag inside).
  3. Cut one piece of unbleached (prewashed) calico twice your finished width plus 1/2 inch. The length of this piece of calico should be 1/2 inch longer than your desired length.
  4. Fold the shorter edge of your unbleached calico down 1/4 inch and press. Stitch this down to hold it in place.
  5. Fold the calico in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew a 1/4 inch seam across the short end (opposite your folded end), pivot at the corner, and sew 1/4 inch seam along the length.
  6. Now sew the seam again, this time a scant 1/4 inch. This will reinforce the seam and keep the wheat seeds in place.
  7. Turn the bag right side out. Don't fuss too much with the corners -- the wheat will sort them out for you!
  8. Fill the calico sack with clean feed (hard) wheat, then carefully stitch the opening closed (if your needle hits the hard wheat seeds it might break - so be very careful). I think this is the most complicated part! If you have an extension table for your machine use it -- otherwise the weight of the wheat in a bag lower than your needle plate will make sewing very difficult!
 How much seed is up to you. We used approximately 900g for an 18" x 6" wheat bag.
Now to make the outer bag in your decorative fabric.
  1. Fold one short end of each piece over to the wrong side 1/4 inch, then fold it over 1/4 inch again, press and stitch down (separately please!). This will give a neat edge to your finished bag.
  2. Place the longer piece of fabric right side up. Place the shorter piece (face down) on top, matching the bottom (unhemmed) ends. Fold the longer side over the top so that it is the same length as the shorter piece: that is the hemmed end of the shorter piece is between two layers of the longer fabric (look at a pillow case if this doesn't make sense to you!!)
  3. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam along the length from the folded end to the bottom, pivot at the corner, seam along the bottom, pivot again, and seam along the other long side. I always start with a few reverse or lock stitches and finish the same way.
  4. Turn your bag right side out. Trim the corners across the diagonal if you want to (we don't!).
  5. Press so that the seams are flat and everything is neat.
  6. Insert the filled calico bag into the decorative cover. Try to match the bottom corners of the two bags inside each other.
  7. Turn the whole lot upside down and match the two corners of both bags under the flap you have created on the decorative bag.
  8. Ease everything into place.
our first four finished bags
  1. Write or print the following instructions onto a tag:
    Microwave 1-2 minutes. Do not overheat.
  2. Attach the tag using a ribbon or pretty raffia.
You could fill one third of the calico bag, seam across it, fill another third, seam across it and fill the rest of the bag but we prefer not to do that. This makes the bag more rigid and we prefer to have the bag more flexible than that.

If you find any errors or have a question, feel free to email me.

If you make some bags using this tutorial, please let us see how they turned out.


  1. I have used these but never made one-very nice project!

  2. I sewed my first one a couple of years ago for a friend's mother, didn't know what I was doing, so thanks for the tutorial. Hope your fundraiser goes well.

  3. well done. those are a great thing to sell.

  4. These are fabulous. I use feed corn instead of wheat though. Love the smell when it's heated.Good luck with the sale.

  5. We make and sell the wheatbags for a living (, this is exactly how we started. Making our wheatbags at home and travelling to markets!


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